Making your e-commerce site mobile-friendly

In the modern day, it can seem as though everyone has a smartphone, with nearly 2.5 billion smartphone users currently existing. In the USA alone, we can see roughly 230 million users, the equivalent of over 70% of its population. In a recent study, it was also shown that the American public spends an average of 11 hours viewing media daily, with 4 of those hours being through using laptops, tablets or mobile phones.

 

Meanwhile, e-commerce is taking a similarly upwards trajectory. Each year, US e-commerce sales are on a constant rise. Last year, the total profits made by all e-commerce businesses was a combined total of £504.6 billion, which is estimated to rise to $560.7 billion before this year is over based on past data. This opens an interesting opportunity for the two to intertwine.

 

Where to take inspiration

The top-dogs of e-commerce should be an obvious case study for anyone looking to improve in the field. Last year, Amazon made up over 28% of the world’s total e-commerce profits, at $141.92 billion and had a total revenue of $232.89 billion. When looking at how much of the industry is in Amazon’s hands, it may seem daunting trying to catch up, but the market is huge and there’s plenty of money to go around.

The majority of big e-commerce stores have an app and a mobile site, which means anyone can use their preference and buy items the way they want. That being said, it’s also helped by all of the versions their site being friendly to all devices- especially mobile. Here’s some of the things you should start doing to achieve this too:

 

Speed to load

To get a good conversion rate for your mobile site, you need to focus on simplifying it in order to increase its speed. Studies show that users only bother waiting three seconds on average before giving up on a site, so speed is everything for keeping your customer from bouncing back to the Google page.

Google’s Mobile Test tool is a great asset to avoid the typical pitfalls in apps that Google have found. The key things to focus on are making sure it’s not hugely difficult for mobiles to load your pages, or even move from page to page- no one wants to visit a site that takes an eternity to load.

 

Avoiding Flash Player is something you should definitely do too, with its use often slowing down sites using it.

 

Be responsive and easily viewable

If you want your place of e-commerce to run smoothly when opened on mobile, you have to make sure it’s responsive enough to always show the features correctly on whatever device is being used, but with a display to suit the specific device. You can’t have the spacing of the site stretching things out on a mobile and making the information harder to view.

 

To make sure you’re not limiting your site’s design overall, you need to make sure you look for templates or structures that will be right for mobile. Don’t be afraid to contact a professional web designer for help for this, as optimising the layout of your mobile app isn’t a simple task for a beginner.

 

Shorten your site

Nobody likes scrolling down endlessly on a phone either. Just like long loading times, a large amount of scrolling is a major red flag for any business. When adapting your website to be mobile-friendly, make sure all its main features are condensed into a quite short page, so your customer can find what they need in no time at all.

Along with scrolling down, scrolling from side-to-side can be a major nuisance. Implementing a viewpoint meta tag can resolve this by automatically adjusting the page to fit its entirety onto the width of the device being used. This can be extremely important when fitting so much onto the small screen of a phone.

 

Get feedback

Wanting to know what needs to be improved at a later date? Be sure your app’s homepage also includes a feedback section to learn what your users want to see more of. Learning and improving from your first draft is always essential, and no one knows what customers want more than customers.

 

Make your buttons large and files small

On the subject of fitting your page to what’s best for a mobile, enlarging your buttons to be easily viewed and pressed on a phone’s small screen with the width of the finger. If not, the buttons on your web page will look a lot smaller on mobile, and people will have trouble getting through your site. That isn’t a good luck, and with Amazon a few clicks away, people won’t stick around.

 

Your users will need to see your text and links well in order to have no troubles navigating through. Don’t bother going the extra mile with loads of interesting typefaces or GIFs, however, as downloading more of everything means your site is slower. Stick to one of the default types.

 

Compressing the images that are already on your site through an image processor, or saving them on an online cache will also help the app run a lot smoother.

 

Test!

You can spend weeks polishing a site to perfection, but at the end of the day, there’ll still be some trial and error involved. Make sure you test everything, keep tabs on how the site is performing, and make necessary tweaks.

 

 

Need help getting into e-commerce?

We can help! We can turn your store into an online store using Sage Pay. After filling out a short quote request, we can integrate your company over to Sage, install fraud prevention measures and screening tools, and provide you with analytical tools to see your company’s growth first-hand. As well as this, we can provide 24/7 support, just in case anything goes wrong.

 

Visit http://cheaperpay.me/taking-payments-online/ for more info!

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Why all e-commerce stores need mobile apps in 2019

Amazon and eBay are the two main pioneers of online shopping, and these e-commerce sites have helped mould the shopping behaviours of people in the modern age massively. It’s been a long journey, but now, the e-commerce system is widely accepted by the world- and customers now provide them with the trust they’d give to physical shops.

 

Now, the next frontier seems to be mobile. With so many of their users now almost exclusively using smartphones, brands have started to gear their sites to working perfectly on phones, even giving this medium priority over computers. The next step is creating an app, where people can easily reach your site by downloading it. This comes with unlimited feature possibilities too.

 

Mobile apps in e-commerce

The evolution of these apps has both changed the world of e-commerce and helped offer more customer-friendly shopping experiences for users, making a mobile app a quick solution to attracting more potential customers.

 

Even more so than desktop and mobile sites, mobile apps have been what has given rise to many businesses in the world of e-commerce. The marketing statistics website, Statista, reported that shopping apps are at the top of the list of categories in terms of the time customers used them in 2017. Shopping apps also had the highest profits in that year, with the category seeing a 54% rise in usage.

 

If you haven’t noticed, the biggest shops all have apps. Such apps are usually the best method for allowing your site to be viewed comfortably as a multi-device/platform service in whatever way fits the customer best.

 

The 5 main benefits

Here are the reasons you should get on board with this huge mobile movement:

 

#1 – Better Analytics

To start off, the specialised nature of apps let your business gain better analytics of your customers’ preferences and activities when it comes to shopping. They will also allow you to have more insight on what kind of user is buying what kind of products, to help refine your marketing strategies to improve your business.

 

Apps will often provide easy use ways for a customer to search for products, and you can get information on whether 75% of your shoppers want dog food, or if you’ve never had a search for bicycle helmets.

 

#2 – Security

On the subject of users and their personalisation, the high level of security the apps provide are something to make them extra enticing. This includes not just the user’s personal information, but also that of their credit/debit card or PayPal/Google Pay account. Being highly secure is essential for avoiding cyber-attacks, and well-functioning apps with good security help build trust with a customer.

 

#3 – Less Complexity

The layout of all mobile apps focuses on condensing all of a site’s features down into a package for a smaller screen. This includes things such as an easily locatable search bars, smooth navigation, easy access to products and offering multiple methods of payment.

 

#4 – Further Interactivity

With the more streamlined and condensed design that a mobile app provides, many of the features will be seen as more interactive to the users and convince them to use your app more often.

 

Part of this comes from the greater convenience apps provide. It will take less than a minute for someone to search and download your app from the App Store or Play Store for iOS and Android users respectively. This will allow them to download and use your app to shop at any time and make your business all the more popular.

 

#5 – Increased customer loyalty

Having a lot of potential customers isn’t going to matter if they abandon their purchase at the cart. According to reports from Baymard, cart abandonment rates on most websites are around 68%. On apps, however, the rate is as low as 28%.

 

Along with design differences, you can focus on several aspects to help increase customer loyalty. For example, your app including rewards for customers such as discounts will help make a customer far more willing to use your services. Some of the most common reward methods used by successful e-commerce businesses include:

 

  • Scratch and Win
  • Coupons
  • Transactional Tiered Rewards
  • Referral Rewards
  • VIP Luxuries
  • Digital Stamp Cards
  • Spin to Win

 

 

 

The ability apps have to easily send notifications, telling customers about the latest offers or discounts. Referring to users by name has been found to attract more customers due to the personalisation it provides. The most recent statistics showed that notifications caused 38% of users to return ten or more times to an app.

Along with the personalisation, notifications also have the advantage over traditional emails of popping up straight away, whereas emails may get lost under many more or may be incorrectly detected as spam.

 

Statista has also estimated that by 2020, mobile apps will generate $188.9 billion in revenue. They also reported from their studies that smartphone users usually prefer using apps over websites

 

Conclusion

  • Apps provide many benefits, which we’re going to list some of below:
  • More shopping convenience for customers
  • Expansion of the brand
  • Acts as a customer-friendly experience
  • Additional experience through using exclusive mobile features
  • Can be designed freely, rather than being limited by browsers
  • Easy and secure payment methods through mobile biometrics
  • Cater to the customer’s experience to make shopping fun
  • More responsive and interactive than websites

 

This user-friendly approach in e-commerce has led to the system becoming far more popular, with many now loving the advantages an app provides such as instant access, simplistic usage and the obvious time-saving it provides.

Need help getting into e-commerce?

We can help! We can turn your store into an online store using Sage Pay. After filling out a short quote request, we can integrate your company over to Sage, install fraud prevention measures and screening tools, and provide you with analytical tools to see your company’s growth first-hand. As well as this, we can provide 24/7 support, just in case anything goes wrong.

 

Visit http://cheaperpay.me/taking-payments-online/ for more info!

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“Which terminal should I use for my business?” The Guide

When starting out a business nowadays, big or small, one of the more important things is to make sure you’re prepared for multiple types of payment, as cash-only cuts out a sizeable portion of your customers.

It’s something rarely taught, and jumping into the world of business will sooner or later present you with this question: what type of payment terminal do I use?

Credit card machines can be broken down into three main types – countertop, portable or mobile. In this post we will consider the positives and negatives of these three types, and you can decide for yourself which would benefit your business the most.

 

Countertop Machines

Countertop machines are cheap, sturdy and have a hardwired connection to the business, making them the common choice amongst many small businesses. Costing around £100, they’re far better than the portable choice when it comes to price, being up to 3 times cheaper in the most extreme cases, but depending on who you buy them from.

If your business is a small one where the vast majority/ all of the payments are made at the counter such as a coffee shop, local bakery or something else that fits this bill, this is probably the best card machine for you. Along with not needing to be reliant on Wi-Fi or battery charging, this is definitely a great option for any store selling fast-food, clothes or a multitude of other things.

Businesses that mainly use countertop machines consist mainly of retail, with the big players including major supermarkets and department stores.

 

Portable Machines

With businesses that require a lot of moving for its staff, having a portable card machine when having a transaction with a customer can be a godsend.

Restaurants and bars are ones that can highly benefit from this as there’s no need to manage a queue at the counter (it opens up the option of a customer paying at their tale) or fumble with change when it comes to paying at the table. This speeds up the process and leaves everyone happy.

Portable machines work through a Wi-Fi connection. Don’t have one? Then simply hook them up to a standard landline and they’ll work just as fine. They will need to be recharged, however, having an average battery life of eight hours and work at a range of up to 200ft. As long as you have a safe charging point and aren’t operating in a multi-level building (where we’d recommend having multiple terminals), you should have no problem with this.

 

Mobile Machines

Portable devices sound great for a lot of businesses, but what if your business ignore the slight flaws of this method, such as the limited range of the connection? What if your business is a delivery company or taxi service, where constant internet/ landline access isn’t always possible, and you can’t simply install a countertop reader?

Well, as long as where you are still has mobile network coverage, then mobile card machines may be right for you. With the flexibility of just needing a mobile and a connection, as well as the charging ports being far more convenient, this option is definitely the best for businesses that aren’t able to have either of the other two options.

These devices work through a SIM card that will connect the machine to a mobile network. Newer varieties such as the iZettle reader, however, make things even simpler by instead just connecting your phone through an app with no need for a specialised SIM card.

With the minimum amount of hardware compared to the other two options, some only requiring the reader and connection to a phone, it seems like the best choice for a business where the employee is always on the go, even more so than the portable reader.

Other businesses that can benefit a lot from mobile devices include and kind of door-to-door sales, from hairdressers and other services to those selling physical products.

 

The fees

A rented machine or service will usually cost up to £30 a month, whilst buying the machine outright will cost anywhere from £80-300. This does vary from place to place, but the cheapest terminal is generally the countertop one, due to its lack of freedom, with the other two being similar in price.

Along with that, there’s the transaction fees. These will depend on the amount of transactions you make within a given time, as well as whether you’re paying through a percentage of the customer’s transaction or a flat fee. The former will usually result in an intake of 2-5% of the customer’s transaction, whilst the latter will usually be a standard payment of 40p per transaction. There are some exceptions on this, such as the SUMUP terminal, which only contracts you to pay 1.69% per transaction with a direct pay-out to your bank account.

Minimum usage fees may be necessary if you’re not making enough transactions. These can usually be around £50 a month.

 

Conclusion – Which One is the Best?

Choosing a winner between the options is purely subjective in terms of what kind of business you have. To summarise, countertop works better for retail, where paying at the counter is the best option. Portable works better for environments where the workers need to move around a lot like hospitality jobs, and mobile works better for those who are constantly on the move outside of a set building.

If you’re interested in speed, the countertop option seems to be the fastest when it comes to transactions due to not relying on a Wi-Fi connection of any kind, whilst the mobile option seems to be the best in terms of versatility. Overall, it depends on what matters more for your type of business.

 

Still need help?

We are able to provide low cost terminals designed specifically for the small business market. This is why we completely avoid long-term contracts, and don’t partake in large fixed costs that would affect your cashflow. We offer all three of the terminals mentioned in this post, and can even offer further advice on request! Visit http://cheaperpay.me/request-a-quote/ to get a FREE quote.

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SECURITY & FRAUD Consumers Want Biometrics – How Will Payments Respond?

With the holiday shopping season behind us, most shoppers can probably say with confidence that the worst part of the whole experience was trying to remember passwords for the eCommerce sites they shopped.

It’s not just the holiday season, either.

recent study by Visa showed that, unsurprisingly, consumers are ready to say goodbye and good riddance to passwords, both because of the friction they create when trying to remember them – and the inevitable stutter step that the “forgot password” prompt creates – and because in the aftermath of the Equifax breach, the public has never been more conscious of how far passwords fall short in preventing fraud and keeping their data secure.

“Everyone knows they have to move away from knowledge-based authentication,” said Mark Nelsen, Visa’s SVP of risk products and business intelligence. “It’s not sustainable.”

However, despite consumer and issuer enthusiasm for more secure authentication technology, industry movement around what consumers say they want instead – biometric authentication – has been slower to get off the ground than everyone would like. A lack of understanding of how to integrate and use this new technology within their financial institutions – and then what it will take in terms of cost and manpower to implement it – may be to blame, Nelsen said.

In a recent interview with Karen Webster, Nelsen explained where he’s starting to see momentum building – and how he views Visa’s role in helping issuers accelerate the journey to deploying a technology that all players across the payments ecosystem, especially consumers, are ready to embrace.

Getting Comfortable With Biometrics

Nelsen acknowledged that issuers and merchants have no higher priority than keeping consumer account credentials safe and in securing the transactions in which they are used. But knowing where to start, in the face of so many options for securing customer account data, can be complicated. So too, Nelsen said, is knowing how to align point fraud solutions at an issuer who now sees the value of taking a holistic – and enterprise-grade – approach to delivering a great consumer experience across all touchpoints with the bank: the retail bank, online and mobile channels, and payments.

As attractive as the prospect of having a single, enterprise-scale authentication platform can seem to an issuer, Nelsen said that it also becomes a little bit like boiling the ocean: “It’s a good long-term vision, but hard to get off the ground in practice.”

It was one of the big drivers, Nelsen said, behind the development of Visa ID Intelligence. Nelsen said that ID Intelligence is an ecosystem of authentication solutions to which issuers connect via a single API. Not only does ID Intelligence make a portfolio of vetted solution providers available to issuers, Nelsen said, it streamlines the integration of those solutions within the issuer’s environment. Solution providers assume the burden of integrating with Visa’s ID Intelligence API, enabling issuers to do a single integration. That, Nelsen said, makes the notion of a holistic and enterprise-grade authentication solution across all issuer touchpoints a little less daunting.

And more suitable to getting pilots off the ground, so that issuers can start to experiment with how to use biometrics in a way that adds value for their customers and their institutions.

Greasing The Gears

According to Nelsen, one of the areas in which he’s seen issuers express growing interest in getting biometric authentication pilots off the ground is account origination.

When you look at the stats, it’s not hard to see why.

Over the last four years, Nelsen said there’s been an enormous increase in credit applications – a healthy portion of which are from fraudsters who’ve stolen legitimate credentials and have attempted to use them to open new accounts. Banks now recognize that the best way to combat new account fraud is to put knowledge-based authentication in their rearview mirror, in favor of using tools like identity documents and device data to help determine whether an identity is legitimate, stolen or synthetic.

Value Proposition

Three years ago, said Nelsen, the payments world wasn’t ready for biometric authentication. Now, consumers are used to – and comfortable with – such biometric authentication as Touch ID, and even Selfie Pay – and  are impatiently waiting for the payments ecosystem to provide an authentication solution that makes passwords a relic of payments authentication history.

It’s a nudge that Nelsen said has become a call to action for issuers to do more to protect consumer data.

“Authentication and protecting consumer data is at the level it needs to be across the entire bank,” said Nelsen.

Like most things in payments, change on this scale can’t and won’t happen overnight, but the wheels of progress are starting to turn. Nelson said that’s why Visa felt it was so important to make it easy for issuers and merchants to quickly connect their systems to proven authentication technologies using Visa ID Intelligence. It’s one way, he said, to give them a running head start on keeping customer data secure, while simplifying the process of giving consumers the authentication methods they want.

 

Source: (Pymnts, 2018)

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Mobile Payments 2.0: Building Better Retail Experiences

Payments has by and large been a growth business for the last half decade or so, and that fact has been mappable in scores of innovations around the world. But, as PYMNTS’ Karen Webster pointed out, for all of those advances, one is conspicuously missing from the list — and that’s despite years of predictions that its ignition was just around the corner.

“Here’s one thing that the last three years hasn’t done: Increase the consumer’s appetite to turn their smartphones into a digital payment form factor when they check out in a physical store,” Webster said.

That reality was born out by two-and-a-half years of PYMNTS and InfoScout tracking figures in the marketplace through the Mobile Payments Adoption and Usage report.

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, can accurately boast that Apple Pay is far and away “the number one [near field communication (NFC)] payment service on mobile devices, with nearly 90 percent of all transactions globally,” but the reality undergirding that brag is that 90 percent of a really small number is an even smaller number.

After three years in the market — and no lack of fanfare — Apple Pay adoption rates have just barely gotten above the 5 percent mark. That is an accomplishment, though, as Samsung Pay is just over 4 percent after two years and the team at Android Pay devoutly hopes 2018 might be the year it cracks the 2 percent mark for usage.

As it turns out, consumers weren’t looking for a new form factor. It seems they like their payment cards just fine, understand them and know they work everywhere and, as such, customers are happy to whip them out at checkout nine times out of 10. That doesn’t mean they are deliriously in love with their payments processes and couldn’t be incentivized to make a change, however.

According to the PYMNTS’ How We Will Pay study, a Visa collaboration, 60 percent of consumers find their online and in-store shopping experiences unproductive, inefficient, time-consuming and even boring. The same study showed 66 percent are open to using devices to connect to a seamless payment experience.

Customers are looking for new and better ways to pay, but a change from a card to a phone isn’t registering as a better way to pay so much as it is registering as the same experience — now with a slightly different object in one’s hand.

Retailers in 2017 have seemingly started to come around to that idea. They have realized that while mobile payments alone aren’t sufficient to do much in the way of altering consumer behavior, mobile payments wrapped around a faster, cheaper and easier shopping experience might actually have some legs after all. If the first round of the “Pays” were dominated by technologists and financial services players, the 2.0 version has been much more about retailers and the value they can find via mobile.

The early figures even indicate that some are gaining a foothold.

Walmart Pay’s Rapid Rise  

According to the PYMNTS and InfoScout figures, Walmart Pay is showing the most potential in the shortest amount of time. With a year in the market and an adoption rate within striking distance of Apple’s at 5.1 percent, the data also showed 47.2 percent of respondents who shop at Walmart use it every time they can. Only 6.6 percent said they’ve never considered using it at all.

But Walmart’s real payments secret sauce is the value-added solutions around money and customer services the company built into the app that houses Walmart Pay. Consumers can also use that app to initiate wire transfers through MoneyGram, check gift card balances, apply coupons and have all receipts sent automatically to its Savings Catcher function.

The point, according to Walmart’s senior vice president of services, Daniel Eckert, is to meld payments into Walmart’s larger mission of saving time and money for the busy families that make up its customer base.

“There is something very powerful about the ease and simplicity of Walmart Pay,” Eckert told PYMNTS. “What’s even more powerful though, is what this means for our customers. We want to make every day easier for busy families. We’re connecting all the parts of Walmart into one seamless shopping experience with great stores, easy pickup, fast delivery, frictionless checkout and apps and websites that are simple to use.”

Walmart still has hurdles to clear, and high ones. Cash remains Walmart customers’ favorite payment method, and EBT cards can not be added to digital Walmart accounts for payments. But Walmart Pay, which is nearly unique among mobile wallet players, has built payments into an overall omnichannel experience that is sticky for consumers and gaining ground fast.

We look forward to 2018’s additions.

Target Jumps Into the Mobile Payments Race

Target was among the retailers who entered 2017 most eagerly hoping to hit the reset button, and rumors about it adding mobile payments to it services lineup began swirling early that January. Outside that initial tease, however, not much was heard on the subject until 2017’s closing weeks, when Target rolled out with a mobile payments platform of its own.

Notably, the company is not calling the offering “Target Pay,” though most tech writers seem to be.

Instead, Target announced in early December that it would be adding a mobile Wallet feature to its mobile app and offering consumers the opportunity to enter their Target REDcard credit or debit card into the wallet and use it to pay directly at the point of sale. Using its eWallet, Target customers can also use Cartwheel — its price matching feaure — with a single scan of their mobile devices at checkout. The goal is to make checkout quicker, and to offer convenient digital savings by including Cartwheel offers and weekly ad coupons, along with the 5 percent REDcard discount.

“Wallet in the Target app makes checkout easier and faster than ever,” said Mike McNamara, Target’s chief information and digital officer. “Guests are going to love the convenience of having payment, Cartwheel offers, weekly ad coupons and gift cards all in one place with Wallet.”

Target has further noted that gift cards and other rewards will also soon be storable within the Wallet. Echoing a theme, the company’s payments upgrade comes in the context of a broader digital push that has seen it moving more aggressively on eCommerce and omnichannel pursuits.

The retailer recently announced its new GiftNow service powered by Loop Commerce. The GiftNow option can be selected when viewing products on Target.com, allowing customers to assemble and send a gift electronically. Recipients can view the gift online, select the size or color of the product or pick another item entirely, thus saving time and money for both Target and its customers by ensuring gift recipients are sent items they will want to keep.

It has unveiled it would be adding 12 exclusive brands by the end of 2018, eight of which were already available during the 2017 holiday shopping season. The brands being introduced this year include products for babies and kids and apparel for both men and women.

“While there’s an incredible amount of change happening across retail, we’re focused on doing what’s best for our guests and leaning into what makes Target special,” said Target CEO and chairman Brian Cornell. “We’re making progress against our long-term strategy.”

The PoS Free Future

In other digital trends, it appears customers don’t want to wait in line at the point of sale (POS). The overwhelming success mobile payments has enjoyed while enabling line-busting at quick service restaurants (QSRs) all over the map speaks to that quite clearly.

In a recent interview with PYMNTS, Visa’s vice president of innovations, Shiv Singh, noted we are only really seeing the beginning of that trend as regards coming trends in mobile payments commerce for the next 18 to 24 months, according to his company’s Innovations For A Cashless World report. According to its findings, retail will soon be a world in which lining up at the cash wrap will no longer be a universal experience.

“We can look at Uber, or how Starbucks now takes 20 percent of its orders through mobile order-ahead,” Singh noted. “Can you imagine going to an Apple store and lining up at a cash register to pay? No, of course not. And now we have Amazon rolling out Amazon Go — it really is only a matter of time before that experience is part of Whole Foods as well.”

Anecdotally, one has seen the “POS everywhere” concept rolling out at retailers of all sizes and shapes nationwide. AmazonGo’s convenience store of the future, through which customers can select goods off the shelf and be automatically and correctly charged due to the magic of sensors. The company has had some notable execution issues with the tech, though, and those have necessitated some delays.

Walmart’s solution is a bit less high tech, but customers in Sam’s Club locations nationwide can already scan their purchases while walking the isles. Each item’s barcode is scanned through an app, which keeps a running tally of all items in the cart. Said app also offers checkout and payment options, as well.

When they are done shopping, Sam’s Club customers can tap to pay and have a receipt sent to their phones — no need to stop at the cash registers. That receipt is then shown to a Sam’s employee on the way out the door, much the way physical receipts are checked to ensure customers are actually paying for all their items. There are rumors that a similar service is coming soon to Walmart locations, though those rumors have not been confirmed.

But as solutions proliferate — and they surely will — one thing is becoming increasingly obvious: Mobile payments as a one-to-one replacement for credit cards may not have much of a future, and the adoption numbers seem to keep singing that same tune in a variety of keys in report after report.

But mobile payments that can exceed what credit cards offer — including faster checkout, clipping-free coupons and the ability to skip the front-of-the-store POS line-up, among others — those experiences seen to really have a hold on consumers.

Which means retailers have every reason to build them, and we look forward to reporting on their efforts.

 

Source: (Pymnts, 2017)

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Payments Testing One, Two, Three

Modern consumers have high expectations for technology. If something doesn’t work perfectly, they’re quick to grow frustrated and abandon it as junk.

“Our generation is a little bit spoiled,” said Bart van Hoek, head of Innovations with UL Transaction Security — and he said that is all the more true with payments tech.

Imagine going out for breakfast only to find that the point-of-sale (POS) terminal isn’t working. Without it, how will you pay for your meal? Maybe you happen to be carrying cash that day, but even if you’re able to hand over a crisp $20 bill to cover the cost, the experience has certainly created friction.

Online, there’s no cash to fall back on. If the payment doesn’t work the first time, said van Hoek, that sale is as good as lost. Nobody wants to see a box that says the website is experiencing technical difficulties; please try again later. The customer likely won’t even remember to try again later, and if he does, he may not return to the same site. Most shoppers just give up on the faulty site and head to a competitor to complete the purchase instead.

Perfection, however, is not easy to achieve in any singular product. In payments, there are hundreds of players involved in making every single transaction work smoothly, from acquirers and banks to regulators setting standards that must be met to, of course, the payments processor.

The point-of-sale terminal at Walgreens or Kroger must work with a credit card from Chase, a mobile payment, a foreign debit card and more. How can the company that produces the terminal ever be sure it can do all that?

Trial and error, said van Hoek. But not with real consumers or real transactions. That is where payments testing comes in. In a recent interview, van Hoek told PYMNTS how this quality assurance process works for payment technology companies, how that’s changed over the years and why this stage of product development is so important.

 

An Investment in Reputation

User experience is more than a buzzword, van Hoek said. Every tap on a mobile device, every imaginable payment method — all of it is about creating the most seamless and smooth user experience possible, devoid of any bugs or errors.

Testing lets the developer see how the product will perform for every customer in every situation and shows whether the software is logical and intuitive or needs to be smoothed over.

When developers invest in payments testing, they aren’t just ensuring that their product does what it’s supposed to do, said van Hoek. They’re investing in their reputation. Building a good reputation is hard. Destroying it is easy — all it takes is one bad product. Earning back consumers’ trust is more difficult the second time around.

With the speed of innovation today, it may feel like a race to get products to market, but the last thing any developer wants is to go to market only to watch the product fall apart in the real world. Between the expense of fixing it and the business lost due to damaged reputation, “Those are costs you don’t want to bear,” said van Hoek.

 

Automate

To achieve the highest level of product quality, the product must be subjected to a high level of testing, and that requires a lot of repetitive actions and test cases. The number of repetitive actions will only increase as new payment methods and infrastructure are introduced and must also be tested.

That’s why payments testing is often seen as a chore. But, said van Hoek, it doesn’t have to be. Today, there are tools on the market to help manage some of those repetitive tasks, freeing up human testers from pressing buttons all day to make better use of their time.

Van Hoek said that manual testing can be extremely labor-intensive and time-consuming in some cases. But that doesn’t necessarily mean artificial intelligence (AI) has to be a part of the answer, he said. It simply means that any pieces of the process that can be automated should be.

Which pieces? That’s a decision that only the company can make. Van Hoek said that, due to the complexity of some test cases, automation is not always cost-efficient, either. Individual organizations must decide what is the best combination of manual and automated testing to optimize their processes.

At UL Transaction Security, customers can submit their hardware to undergo a barrage of different uses and scenarios in UL’s test labs, and van Hoek said the company is always looking to automate even more of the process as new technologies become available. The key client problem that UL helps to address is reducing time to market by eliminating the complexity that companies are facing with new technologies and regulations flooding the market.

 

Divide and Conquer

In the old days, said van Hoek, testing used to be done on final products at the end of the development cycle. But today, payments testers, like UL, subject the product to smaller tests along the way. By breaking the project into manageable chunks, UL is able to be more thorough in its testing and can identify problems before the rest of the product gets built around them.

Van Hoek said that can save a lot of time and money throughout the development process, as it enables development teams to address issues as they go along rather than having to tear down and rebuild a final product that doesn’t work right.

The thinking around testing must change, he argued. It’s more about quality assurance, though testing is just one piece of a larger quality assurance process that includes identifying, anticipating, managing and resolving issues across the product, while testing focuses specifically on finding and eliminating bugs.

As development processes have become more agile, van Hoek said that testing processes throughout the lifecycle must also increase their agility.

 

Growth Ahead

Again, the number of payment methods out there — and the infrastructure that goes with each one — is only going to increase. There are many players trying to disrupt the industry, but people aren’t abandoning cash and credit cards to pay with their smartphones; it’s not “either/or” but “both/and.”

Cryptocurrencies are another growing method in the payments industry, and the price of bitcoin (currently around $11,000) reveals just how popular it is among its fans. Eventually, at least some consumers are going to want to spend that digital currency in real-world brick-and-mortar stores.

Money is money, and merchants want to be ready to accept whatever form of it customers want to hand them. Doing that will require new technology and new components, or new use cases for old components, van Hoek explained — all of which will need to be tested and validated before rolling out to merchants and the public — for their own good and for the good of the brand.

Source: (Pymnts, 2017)

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Paytm Says On Track To Be World’s Biggest Digital Bank

In an interview with Bloomberg published Tuesday (Nov. 28), Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma said the company is aiming to have 500 million bank accounts.

“We are unveiling our money market fund, launching our debit card and we’ll have the capabilities to allow enterprises to open business accounts,” Sharma said. “Digital payments was our entry point, we want to become a vertically-integrated financial services company.”

While Paytm Payments Bank can accept deposits and remittances, it cannot lend money to its customers. The bank will be the country’s first mobile-only bank that does not charge fees for online transactions and will not require a minimum balance. The bank is majority owned by Sharma, but telecommunications firm One97 Communications has a 49 percent stake. According to Sharma, the company can get around regulatory obstacles to offer lending by working in partnership with One97, which will launch a credit card and offer monthly installment-based loans.

“We will launch share trading and insurance products very soon,” he added. “We want to become an nternet-agei financial services company.”

Sharma explained his company is leveling the playfield. The banking system has traditionally been skewed heavily toward those with money, while the less wealthy people of India have had a tough time paying their bills or transferring money to family members.

“Buying insurance and investing through our wealth management products will become widely accessible through the payments bank,” he said.

Paytm Payments Bank is an offshoot of digital money service Paytm, an electronic payment firm which recently obtained a permit to create a payments bank and provide financial services to those underserved by the Indian financial services industry.

 

Source: (Pymnts, 2017)

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APPLE PAY P2P Payments Coming To Apple Watch In The Autumn

 

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Peer-to-peer payments are coming to the Apple Watch this fall with the release of iOS 11 and watchOS 4.

On its website, Apple said that Apple Pay users will be able to send and receive money quickly, easily and securely via its peer-to-peer payment platform. The feature will be available right in Messenger, or users can tell Siri to pay someone using a virtual debit card or credit card already loaded into the digital wallet. When users get paid, they will receive the money instantly in the new Apple Pay Cash card that will reside in the Apple Wallet.

The move on the part of Apple to include P2P payments with the new iOS 11 and watchOS 4 comes at a time when the company is trying to get Apple Pay in the hands of more users. Earlier this month, Didi, the Uber of China (and, in fact, the local service that gobbled up Uber China last August) announced it has added Apple Pay support to its Didi Premier, Didi Express and Didi Luxe personal mobility services, in addition to its partner station-less bike rental service ofo, according to a TechCrunch news report.

Apple Pay is standard fare on any iOS device, allowing users to authenticate payments biometrically – today, with their fingerprints, and soon using Face ID on the forthcoming iPhone X. That’s on top of other iOS features Didi already supported, including Siri-powered ride hailing from within the Maps app or via the Apple Watch. With the addition of support by Didi, Apple Pay joins the likes of WeChat, Alipay, QQ Wallet, international credit cards and CMB all-in-one net payment, all of which power Didi’s core services. It also comes at a time of increased competition from Fitbit, which recently launched the Ionic smartwatch.

 

Source (Pymnts, 2017)

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Avoid being hit by the Government’s credit card surcharge ban with Cheaper Pay!

As of January 2018, businesses will be stripped of their ability to add any surcharges to their card transactions.

Airlines, fast-food chains and small businesses will be those who suffer most from the ban, but there are ways in which these companies can make up for this potential loss of capital.

Cheaper Pay’s industry-leading payment solutions come in at a staggering 40% cheaper price than the likes of WorldPay, Barclays and Lloyds – offering terrific value for money, as well as bearing the costs that may be lost in profit once these government changes come in to fruition next year.

Having provided UK businesses with the crème de la crème of payment technology for over a decade, Cheaper Pay are well placed to install the ideal payment system that is perfect for your business’s needs.

For a FREE no-obligation quote, get in touch with one of our specialist advisers today on 03301 242 537.

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Contactless payments are ready to donate a helping hand!

Contactless Payments are set to become increasingly involved in charity fundraising appeals. The move comes as statistics published late last year showed an incredible rise in the amount of money spent with contactless devices.
According to the UK Card Association, November 2016 saw a £2,903m spend in the UK through contactless mediums – an incredible 183% rise on the previous year.
Now, that incredible figure is set to be translated onto the fundraising scene, with many charities recognising that people are more inclined to spend contactlessly than with spare cash.
Some major charities have already began trialling the scheme, with the 2015 Red Nose Day producing statues that housed contactless payment points where people could donate.
Furthermore, The Blue Cross then introduced a scheme in 2016 where people could ‘Pat and Tap’ the dogs on show to donate £2.
With contactless payments on the rise, the increasing ingenuity of charities to use these schemes as a means of increasing fundraising totals is something that will definitely increase during the coming months and years.

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Tech note, everyone – wearable technology is on the move!

We have often associated wearable technology with the fitness industry. Companies such as FitBit have produced spectacular results in this field, harnessing the ability to track and manage anything from distance run to calories burned over a certain period of time.
However, wearable tech is now leaving the wellbeing scene behind and advancing on to a period of world domination.
Advanced wearable biometrics can be used as a form of authentication for a number of things.
NEC corporation has recently adopted the software to identify people placed on ear readings – something previously unprecedented in the industry.
“The system enables biometric authentication via the otoacoustic emission, a sound made by the inner ear when the cochlea is stimulated, arising from the vibration of hair cells,” reports mobileidworld.
“According to a statement from NEC, its earbud device’s “otoacoustic authentication technology… recognizes the characteristics of a user’s ear”, suggesting that the emission is used to map the shape of the inner ear, which is presumably unique to the individual.”
The advancement of contactless, wearable technology is a clear indication of the continued progress of our industry.
The technical possibilities are endless – and NEC confirms this with future plans to commercialise the technology soon.
NEC plans to offer “services that combine individual authentication, indoor positioning, acoustic AR (augmented reality), vital sensing and other technologies”, according to NEC Business Development Division General Manager Tomonori Kumagai.
The contactless revolution has only just begun – don’t get left behind.

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Fingerprint Tech: A New Age Of Payments

Credit card payments have come a long way; from chip & pin to contactless taps, card payments are being revolutionised everyday. However, another form of payment has come to the forefront of business payment solutions.

Currently, fingerprint technology is worth an estimated $2billion a year in Japan, and is growing rapidly due to it’s convenience for both the consumer and the business.

What is fingerprint technology and how does it work?

Fingerprint tech is revolutionising the way consumers pay for their goods. It begins with the consumer purchasing a credit card that has their fingerprint stored within the details. After that, they simply pay for their goods by placing their finger on a fingerprint scanner at the checkout. And as simple as that, they get to walk away with their goods in hand.

What are the benefits of fingerprint technology?

If contactless cards worried consumers, then fingerprint payment is the ideal solution. For example, if the consumer forgets their card or loses it before paying, they simply need to scan their fingerprint and walk out of the store. Not only will this save them time, but also means your business does not lose profit it otherwise might have. As well as the additional monetary benefit, workplace efficiency is almost doubled due to the quick nature of the payment.

Fingerless payments are looking to replace or become an alternative to Apple Pay; a market that is also growing rapidly due to it’s convenient nature. It also has the added benefit of total security. There may even come a time when the consumer will no longer need to carry card or cash – simply their fingerprint. Although there might be limitations (for example not being able to use multiple fingerprints for different bank accounts) the security of the process simply cannot be denied for both the consumer and the business.

Here are CheaperPay we understand the need for your business to stay ahead of the curve without the added costs – so we’re offering a limited time offer of 3 months FREE when you sign up for our service!

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Selfies And Contactless Rings: New Ways To Pay

The way we pay for goods is changing. Get ready for Selfie Pay, contactless payment rings and iris scanners.

What if you could use a selfie to pay for things? How about the rhythm of your heart?

New technologies that could change the way we buy things have been shown off at the Gherkin as part of London Tech Week.

Selfie Pay takes everyone’s favourite vanity exercise and makes it useful: allowing you to authorise a transaction with your face.

The app requires you to blink so it knows you’re really there and someone isn’t using a photo of you to fraudulently authorise a transaction.

The idea is to get rid of the need for passwords, instead using biometrics: unique data based on individual characteristics like your face, eyes or fingerprint.

“If you think about passwords, they’re a standalone measure,” said Jane Khodos from MasterCard. “They’re easily lost, stolen or forgotten.

“Here you’re authenticating with what you have: your phone and also who you are.”

You could use this kind of tech to buy goods, pay for bus or train fares, or to log into your computer.

We also saw more of Nymi: a wearable wristband that can identify you by the unique rhythm of your heart, found in your electrocardiogram (ECG).

Your heart rhythm is not to be confused with your heartbeat, so the band would still work if you had just run for a bus, for example.

“We’re also very concerned about the security issues, it’s something that’s top of the mind for us,” said Amy Neal from MasterCard Labs, the company’s research and development division.

It is not just biometrics that could change payments.

Kerv is said to be the world’s first contactless payment ring: a simple piece of technology that essentially means you are wearing a contactless payment card.

Payment tech inventors emphasise that there is no need to choose just one of these products.

“You can start to bundle biometric authentication together,” says Ms Neal. “So you might have Selfie Pay, but also the electrocardiagram for additional security.

“We hear stories like people are concerned that they may have an identical twin, so what does that mean if you’re doing selfie pay?

“For us this is ensuring that we have a full suite of biometrics available.”

The Kerv ring is due out in July, Selfie Pay comes out in the UK this year and the Nymi band and iris scanner are both still in development.

 


Team, T.S. (2016) Selfies and Contactless rings: New ways to pay. Available at: http://news.sky.com/story/selfies-and-contactless-rings-new-ways-to-pay-10323052 (Accessed: 15 July 2016).